Friday, April 26, 2013

Pilot Justus 95 With an Adjustable Nib

When I started this blog, I had no intention of it being a "pen blog." I just had an itch to write and get my writing out there somehow. Well I guess it is now a "pen blog." And it may look like that it is becoming a "Pilot Pen Blog" which it is not. I've been very fortunate to receive Pilot and Namiki pens from my personal friend John Lane, general manager at Pilot Pens. He told me he sends those pens after "cleaning out his desk." But a few weeks ago he told me he was sending a pen for me to try and give my opinion on before he brings the model in from Japan to the US. So this post is kinda different for me as it is not my thoughts or my mana`o, but trying to help out a friend.

I received a Pilot Justus 95.

Oh umm click on the pictures to see a larger preview.

It has an adjustable nib. When John first told me about it, I immediately remembered a vintage Wahl Eversharp Doric I had with and adjustable nib. I had bought it from the one and only pen show I have ever attended on the mainland, the inaugural San Francisco Pen Show. Well that pen is gone, but my Twitter friend Gourmet Pens featured one in her blog posts.

This is a bit different, actually a lot different! There is an adjustment at the bottom of the body, H (hard) and S (soft)...obviously. You can see a stiffener bar that supports the nib or not.

Hard setting

Soft setting

I filled it with Iroshizuku Ama-iro.

It is not what I expected. It is not a flexible nib by any means even in the soft setting. There is no line thickness variation that you get with a Falcon.

On a side note, when I use the term thickness variation, I think of disc brake rotors on automobile brakes. Still a Grease Monkey I guess. Ok sorry...side tracked!

However when writing, you can definitely "feel" a difference. I liken the the difference in "writing feel" to writing with a stiff Sheaffer nib compared to a nice soft Pelikan or Montegrappa nib. On some papers you can see a difference in line thickness between the two settings. Maybe not so much on the Rhodia paper, but again no line variation.

I first filled it with Irhoshizuku Take-sumi, but changed to the Ama-iro hoping for better results. I do love the shading with the Ama-iro though, may be a good companion to Kon-peki.

John did later tell me that it is not a "Falcon wannabe." I personally don't know a reason to have a stiff nib. Can anyone explain please as I am not really a pen aficionado? However I do enjoy writing with a nice soft nib.  If there is a reason to have both kinds of nibs, this pen would work out perfectly as you have both and only need to carry one pen. Also it is not just hard or soft, there is almost infinite adjustment in between.

I appreciate that John trusts my judgment and opinion with this pen. We go back quite a few years first meeting at then annually at the Pen Fairs that the Honolulu Pen Shop used to hold. I think we sold out of Falcons the first time we met when no one knew the term flexible nib yet. I did write a post about it last year.

So, would you purchase this pen? I think it'll retail for around $300. Thank you and I or we will value any opinions sent.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It Ain't Easy Being Green

It's been a long time since my last post, it's been a real struggle for me the past few years. Even a week on vacation a month ago still left me with no time or energy to write a post. But I did have a chance to get to the Honolulu Pen Shop and visit Corinne, it too had been a while. I bought a new pen and ink combo, a Pilot Prera and a bottle of Iroshizuku Chiku-rin.

I saw a picture of what I thought was that pen/ink combo in an issue of Pen World International Magazine, and I just had to have it even though my friend John from Pilot Pens had given me a gray Prera before.

I've kinda been on a green kick recently and the clear pen with green ink really caught my attention! After I would look at the magazine again and see that is was not a Prera but a Pilot Heritage 92 clear or "demonstrator" fountain pen. Well the green trim on the Prera makes it even better!

I seem to have come full circle (the original title I had for this post). I think this pen is the first non flexible nib fountain pen I've purchased in years. My very first "good" fountain pen was a Jade Green Cross Townsend with a broad nib ( nib made by Pelikan). When I purchased the Cross it was also the very first time I went to the Honolulu Pen Shop when they were located on Beretania Street. Prior to that I was using a Mont Blanc "rip off" I bought at a trade show, and some disposable fountain pens. I didn't even know it was a fake Mont Blanc because I'd never of Mont Blanc before. Sadly I don't have the Cross anymore, I probably traded it in for another pen. So much for being sentimental.

What my "thing" was back then was wrtiting letters. I wrote a lot of letters. I wrote letters for my church at the time. I wrote letters to friends. I wrote letters to my fiancé who eventually became wife. My wife told me that I write really good letters. Fellow church members would tell me that the letters I wrote had touched them. And even though I was not into fancy script or calligraphy, recipients would still comment on my handwriting even though I wasn't really trying to "write nice," just wanted to say something meaningful.

And then I was introduced to the world of flexible nibs when Earl the late owner of Honolulu Pen Shop introduced me to a vintage Waterman 92. He told me I can write "Spencerian" style though I eventually learned that is something different. But I knew what he meant. I then bought and read a book on Copperplate Calligraphy, sat down with the pen and book and life was changed!

From then on my focus with writing was on lettering or forming letters, and not composition of my letters. Of course my fountain pen purchases were all flexible nib fountain pens and I eventually also got into oblique holders and dip nibs. That is a subject for another post. But when I wrote letters in a nice "hand" using the flex pens or dip pen, I focused on forming letters but lost track of composing meaningful correspondence. I could write blah blah blah and make it look nice, but it would almost be meaningless and not heartfelt in my opinion.

So with this pen I am returning to the art of the handwritten letter!

I don't know that I will post any letter here. Often what I write may not be something to show publicly although there may be exceptions. But when I think of green I can't get the song It Ain't Easy Being Green sung by Kermit the Frog out of my head.


Ahh you don't want to see the entire page of lyrics do you? It ain't that pretty!

I will probably carry this Prera around since I think it's cool to show non-fountain pen people what the insides of a fountain pen looks like.

Mahalo nui to all who read and follow my meager blog. I really do appreciate the nice comments I get and it does give me the inspiration to keep it going.

                             More posts and also videos to follow soon!